Question: Our Homeowners' Association hires a contractor to remove the snow from our neighborhood's driveways. During the last big snow fall, the plow made long scratches in my driveway. What can I do to make this look better?
Answer: Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to make the scratches disappear entirely. Scratching changes the surface texture of the concrete and repairing the texture so that the scratches are not visible is not possible. The best thing to do is to completely clean the entire driveway, removing any oil, debris, or concrete dust. The scratched area will even out and blend more with the rest of driveway given some time.
The most serious part is that the scratch has penetrated the concrete paste on the surface of the driveway that protects the concrete from damage. When the surface or the "cream" has been destroyed, it cannot be renewed and leaves the concrete "open" to more water intrusion and damage. When the surface has been "opened", it is not "sealed" to stop water penetration, and the scratch will grow and cause the concrete surface to break down over time. When the concrete surface has been scratched it is imperative to seal the surface.
There are as many sealer recommendations as there people in the trade. However, we believe that a siliconate, penetrating, chemically-reactive sealer is the best choice for sealing the exterior concrete surface to prevent further damage. These sealers work by creating a gel inside the open pores of the concrete which hardens and chemically bonds to the concrete. The sealer allows the concrete to breathe as air molecules are smaller than water but dramatically reduces water penetration. Water penetration results in freeze-thaw damage in the winter months which leads directly to pitting, popping, spalling and other concrete problems. The sealer we recommend is SealGreen Concrete Sealer Concentrate with Salt Defense Technology.
Rust Stains From Snow Plow: Another issue that you can run into with scratches from a snowplow or other heavy metal object including snow blowers with metal tines is that small bits of the metal becomes embedded in the concrete and with moisture will create rust spots. Also sometimes the blades or tines of the equipment already has rust on it that leaves rust marks on the concrete. To remove these rust areas, we recommend SealGreen Rust Remover for Concrete. And then, of course, seal the concrete.